How can the city boost community gardens?

photo by Desiree Espada
photo by Desiree Espada

It’s a revolutionary idea: We should have the freedom to control our own food.

Dallas City Council is taking steps toward granting that freedom with a proposal to ease the city’s regulation of community gardens and urban farms.

Council members asked the city’s office of environmental quality to meet with gardeners and farmers and present a list of ways to improve on a 2011 ordinance that regulated community gardens, prohibiting them from selling the food they grow.

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Since then, a movement toward community gardens has waned. In January, the council’s Economic Development Committee will hear suggestions for community gardens and urban farms, including their allowed size and location, allowing produce sales and allowing fish farming. The committee also wants information on composting, food delivery and whether gardens should be allowed on public property.

Large swaths of Dallas, including part of Oak Cliff, are in food deserts, low-income neighborhoods where grocery stores are not available. Grocery stores often will not open for business in low-income neighborhoods, so City Council members hope community gardens could improve the quality of life in those neighborhoods.

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